What We Resist, Persists…

I think it’s good to be somewhat careful in our use of this phrase.

“What we resist, persists,” say some. A sometimes-handy dismissive phrase apparently employed to “explain” one’s lack of…conviction… passion…action…

Think Henry David Thoreau, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela…& a thousand other past & current heroes. People whose acts of “resistance” have changed the world – for the better – for millions & millions of people. For you, & for me…

Apathy & inaction are not – to my way of thinking – reasonable reasons or substitutes for conscience-led acts of …“resistance.”

Not acting is a choice every bit as much as acting is. It too brings consequences.

If we use the phrase “what we resist, persists,” we need to be very certain we’ve thought it through carefully.

Our actions (& our inaction) need to be conscience-driven & strategic. (A little courage never hurts.)

Inaction – failure to act – may only be an excuse for a lack of courage, or conviction, or caring, or compassion, or energy, or will, or conscience.(1)

Don’t we need to be sure we are always at least trying to be people who act with, or out of, reason? And good faith? (And integrity, of course…)

Not people who flip-flop about, bandying excuses.

That’s what I think, anyway…


P.S. The essay ‘Protesting…Celebrating…whatever! speaks to this topic also.

‘Quote of the day’ w. this post: “Often the voice of conscience whispers / Often we silence it / Always we have to pay.” – Cletus Nelson Nwadike, Nigerian poet, Left Curve (# 28) – Utne Reader, May/June 2005

A few other quotes on conscience:

“Nothing is more powerful than an individual acting out of his conscience, thus helping to bring the collective conscience to life.” ~ Norman Cousins

“Cowardice asks the question: is it safe? Expediency asks the question: is it politic? Vanity asks the question: is it popular? But conscience asks the question: is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular - but one must take it simply because it is right.” – Martin Luther King

“A clear conscience is more valuable than wealth.” – Filipino proverb

“It’s funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox, full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools – friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty – and said, ‘Do the best you can do with these, they will have to do.’ And mostly, against all odds, they’re enough.” From Traveling Mercies – Some Thoughts on Faith, by Anne Lamott

“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.” – Mohandas Ghandi

(1) My own conscience – an inner voice – is an often-inconvenient entity. It speaks to me loudly – & gives me no peace when I ignore it. It is not satisfied with excuses such as “Everyone else is doing it; I can too!” Very bloody inconvenient it is.